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Castle Ravenloft - In Stores Now

Game Information

Game Name
Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game
MSRP $
65.00

Publisher Information

Release Schedule Information

Expected Release Date
Expected Ship Date
Street Date
September 01, 2010

The master of Ravenloft is having guests for dinner – and you are invited!

Evil lurks in the towers and dungeons of Castle Ravenloft, and only heroes of exceptional bravery can survive the horrors within. Designed for 1-5 players, this boardgame features multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and cooperative game play.

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Comments (118)
  • avatarMichael Barnes

    OK, so I asked Wizards' press office for a review copy. They said no, but gave me a link to the unboxing video. THANKS.

    Anyway, UPS just dropped it off. The box is WAY bigger than I expected. It looks great once you pull it all out...it's the first time I've been impressed by miniatures in a very, very long time. They look awesome, the Dracolich and the Flesh Golem in particular.

    It's on the table tonight at Swamp Castle for sure.

  • avatarSouthernman

    Give us everyone's feedback. It looks good, and seems to be OK for an adults game group but simple and interesting enough for my 11 year old lad.

  • avatarSpace Ghost
    Quote:
    it's the first time I've been impressed by miniatures in a very, very long time.

    Since Space Hulk 1 year ago?

    I concur with SM --- the range of feedback would be appreciated.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Heh, yeah, it's been about a year. I'm talking mainly about the embarassment that was the last four or five FFG releases this year. Teeny tiny figures with indistinguishable sculpts and all that.

    Heading out now, Ravenloft or bust!

  • avatarUniversalHead

    I've got dungeoncrawlers coming out my ears in my collection, and usually I'd grab another without a second thought - but this game isn't exciting me at all. Perhaps it's the D&D licence, maybe it's the thought of having to paint that huge lot of figures when I still haven't done all the Descent ones, maybe it's because I'm just burned out on dungeoncrawlers. But really, I think the main thing is the incredibly bland graphic design and art. The tiles look like they were done in the 80s, and all the other components look like they were designed by a neat accountant with page layout skills. It seems crazy to me that a company with such resources can't even get some evocative, atmospheric design together. A powerful vampire's castle? It just looks like a generic dungeon with no character at all to me, like a cheap floorplan pack. Not to mention all that uppercase type everywhere and the virtually monochrome cards.

    Maybe they were going for an 80s feel ... but to me it looks cheap, and just doesn't get me excited enough to want to buy it.

  • avatarhotseatgames

    I've got it. I played a solo round last night. The miniatures are excellent, and I like how the bottom of the bases even has the monster's name. The rules are simple and the game plays fast. It has about 90% less bullshit in it than Descent.

    The tiles are rather bland. They leave it up to the individual scenarios to really create atmosphere, but the encounters play out well, and overall I think it will be a good game.

    Is it the ultimate dungeon crawl? No, it isn't... I'm making that right now. ;D

  • avatarJeff White
    Quote:
    I've got dungeoncrawlers coming out my ears in my collection, and usually I'd grab another without a second thought - but this game isn't exciting me at all. Perhaps it's the D&D licence, maybe it's the thought of having to paint that huge lot of figures when I still haven't done all the Descent ones, maybe it's because I'm just burned out on dungeoncrawlers. But really, I think the main thing is the incredibly bland graphic design and art. The tiles look like they were done in the 80s, and all the other components look like they were designed by a neat accountant with page layout skills. It seems crazy to me that a company with such resources can't even get some evocative, atmospheric design together. A powerful vampire's castle? It just looks like a generic dungeon with no character at all to me, like a cheap floorplan pack. Not to mention all that uppercase type everywhere and the virtually monochrome cards.

    Maybe they were going for an 80s feel ... but to me it looks cheap, and just doesn't get me excited enough to want to buy it.

    I agree. There are several things about this game that has me excited to give it a try, but the design leaves me cold. The item cards and such have _no_illustration on them. Sure I can read, but I like a bit of imagery in adventure games. I mean, HQ did this right 20 years ago, you'd think with all of the illustrations that WotC has at it's disposal they'd be able to find a silver dagger...

    However, it does match the bland technical layout of the 4e books. I'm not a fan of those designs either. Very sparse and boring.

    Some dude gave this game a less than stellar review on BGG. His biggest fault was it just felt 'bland'.

    Anyway, hope this is good because fantasy games (Defenders of the Realm and DungeonQuest) are having a tough go.

  • Mr Skeletor

    Couldn't agree with you more Headless. This just isn't grabbing me AT ALL, and I'm a huge Dungeon Crawl fan (no secret there!) and loved Ravenloft back in the day.
    But this just looks like a lame duck release which offers nothing new with no personality.
    Maybe it's because I already own WHQ which has all of the features this has which are meant to set it apart from the pack.

  • avatarShapeshifter

    I agree completely, this game looks incredibly bland.
    Actually, I was a bit baffled they didn't don any effort to create something even remotely gothic.
    The tiles look weirdly stripped from any sort of atmosphere, which is strange given the fact Wizards has released alot of D&D material (the floorplan packs spring to mind) with at least alot of detail in the graphics. While I do hope this game more than compensates the lack in visual appeal with gameplay I'm already a bit underwhelmed by reading the rules and reading some session reports that seem to indicate this is a very simple game without alot of depth or meaningful choices.
    Sure, it will be alot smoother than Descent, but I'm very doubtful of other qualities.
    It seems one of those design-by-comitee titles, and definitly not the immersive gothical nightmare I was hoping for. It keeps baffling me given the potential: Why isn't there a good vampire game on the market?

  • avatarGrudunza

    From what reviews and information I've read so far I'm really on the fence about buying this one, so much so that Barnes' report might actually tip me one way or the other. I don't mean that to sound disparaging... I definitely appreciate his reviews, regardless, but it's not typically the case that anyone's individual review would convince me one way or the other beyond what my own overall impression is. It may be that way here, though. So what's the word, Michael?

  • avatarSleightOfHand12

    Wasn't the idea to make the tiles not-too-Gothic so that they don't look too out of place when the Ravenloft tiles are combined with the Ashardalon tiles for hella dungeons?

  • Mr Skeletor

    I had an old white dwarf magazine that had an awesome Advanced Heroquest adventure in it which involved going through a vampires castle or some shit. It had a shitload of new rules dealing with the vampire and all these special powers he had - stats for what creature he appeared as, biteing for healing, that kind of stuff. Rather than just encounter him in the last room, the DM could actually use him throughout all of the levels (subject to the new rules) so basically he would hassle the adventurer's during the whole mission. Best bad guy ever in a dungeon crawl, it made fighting him epic and frustrating.
    That's the kind of thing this game needed. Fuck a ravenloft game where I have to fight dragons and orcs, I want when where I have to battle Strahd or Lord Soth in an epic series of running battles that give justice to what powerful creatures they are meant to be.

  • avatarJeff White

    Skeletor, I had that same WD. It was an awesome scenario and tough as balls.

  • avatarMattDP

    I've had about 10 sessions with this now and overall, I'm impressed. I understand the bland criticism but Ikm not sure it's entirely justified: generic is probably a better term. It also has some annoying rules loopholes ans a very variable difficullty scale. But on the other hand it's mechanically interesting, often exciting and does a fine job of filing a gap of a dungeoncrawl that plays in under an hour.

    Full review soon - my copy was a freebie from WotC.

  • avatarStephen Avery
    Quote:
    I've had about 10 sessions with this now and overall, I'm impressed. I understand the bland criticism but Ikm not sure it's entirely justified: generic is probably a better term. It also has some annoying rules loopholes ans a very variable difficullty scale. But on the other hand it's mechanically interesting, often exciting and does a fine job of filing a gap of a dungeoncrawl that plays in under an hour.

    Full review soon - my copy was a freebie from WotC

    Matt, Have you played D&D 4e? Would you get Ravenloft if you have 4E? The simularities are almost identicle from what I could see (which Ravenloft being a simplification of 4E).

    Steve"Do I need both?"Avery

  • avatarJosh Look

    I ordered mine yesterday. I _want_ to play an RPG, I just don't have the time to devote to it. All the other options you guys throw around, like WHQ, were out of print LOOOONG before I could ever get to them, so this seems like a perfect fit.

  • avatarShellhead

    Skeletor, that's exactly what I wanted this Castle Ravenloft to be... a series of running battles between the party and Strahd. I also wanted great fixed maps like the original I6 module and some wandering/random monsters.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Y'all need to quit your bitching. RAVENLOFT rocks. It's the best dungeoncrawl since...I dunno, the non-fucked up DUNGEONQUEST?

    It's 100% back-to-basics fun without any stupid fancy mechanics or "innovative" systems to get in the way of the simple fun of dungeon-delving, looting, and stabbing monsters. It could have been designed in the 1980s, it's much more of a successor to games like HEROQUEST than DESCENT ever was. And _anybody_ can play it- you could sit down with a party that includes your grandma, your nephew, and a semi-retarded bonobo and everyone would be able to easily grasp the game and get into it.

    The "blandness" comments are pretty stupid, to be honest. It's no more "bland" than any other fantasy themed game that people here sport wood over on a regular basis. So what if it doesn't have the pictures you expected- remember, this is D&D, a game that used to not have a board at all. There's plenty of flavor in the encounter cards and the scenario designs (which vary pretty wildly), and there's TONS more character in the monster behaviors and the various powers each hero can choose. Just because there's not a picture of an item on a card doesn't somehow strip the game of any sense of setting or narrative. It's good that elements are more generic, because that makes them work with future games in this series. Seriously, can you not use your imagination in playing a _Dungeons and Dragons_ game? I'll take the simple, effective graphics of this over a bunch of crap fantasy novel cover artwork any day...usability is king here, and I was surprised at how much I actually appreciated that each tile and chit SAYS WHAT IT IS ON IT rather than having an obscure icon or elaborate, difficult to parse artwork to identify it.

    It's very old school in every way, and if you claim to like the 1980s style AT games (as opposed to the overblown, overproduced, and overdesigned FFG style of late), then you're going to like this one. If you're sick of overpriced "meh" games and want something that's a great value and will be a crowd pleaser that you'll play more than twice before it's shelved, you'll like this one.

    We did the second scenario and had a blast. The player powers encourage cooperation but you're still free to do like Frank Branham and lone wolf it. The game definitely put up a fight, and the way the monster AI works is actually brilliant and I'd go so far as to call it the best AI triage I've seen to date. Monsters have a couple of "if then" statments that affect what they do, and the stronger monsters can do some pretty interesting stuff, like Strahd or Gravestorm the Dracolich (YES!!!).

    Most importantly to me, it feels like D&D should. Not RUNEBOUND or CLAUSTROPHOBIA or any of the imitations. It feels like good, old fashioned D&D, albeit with the 4E rules. It also feels like Ravenloft, with Strahd busting out of nowhere to fuck with you, ghosts luring you to doom, and the monsters are all Ravenloft appropriate- no orcs, and the dragons are all either dragon zombies or Dracoliches. There are kobolds...but it's fucking D&D man, and it wouldn't be the same without them.

    I love the game, it is every bit the dungeon crawl I wanted it to be. It's so economically designed and easy to play and it's just _fun_ instead of "sophisticated" or "clever".

    Oh, and our quest was ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES long. If it were DESCENT, it would have taken us six hours to do the same things.

    When I got home from Swamp Castle, I set up the first scenario (a solo thing where you're trying to escape from Strahd's crypt in (this is for you Steve) a running battle with Strahd and his minions. Tough as balls, I got beat down by a Blazing Skeleton and a Gargoyle right before he woke up.

    Oh, and at $65, this game is a GREAT value. The miniatures are outstanding and if you're a painter, they'll look awesome painted up. If you've got any D&D minis you can sub those out easily. The component quality all around is super high, if FFG did this game it'd be $150 at this point. I think there's 13 scenarios over all and two on the web so this thing has got legs to spare.

    One of my favorite games of the year, no doubt. I wish I were playing it right now.

  • avatarShellhead

    Barnes, you've changed my mind about Castle Ravenloft. For the first time since that preview photo of the contents, I actually want this game.

  • avatarhotseatgames

    On my solo run, I got killed literally one square away from the exit....by a lowly spider, with Strahd literally one round away from crushing me. It was pretty awesome.

    I'll concur on the monster cards- the AI is pretty cool. I can see a lot of people potentially getting hung up on the fact that it doesn't tell you EXACTLY where to place monsters when they move, but for the most part it doesn't matter. Everything is boiled down as far as it could go in the interest of keeping games short, and that's great.

    I'm very interested to see what Ashardalon adds to the mix.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Barnes, you've changed my mind about Castle Ravenloft. For the first time since that preview photo of the contents, I actually want this game.

    Good, because you were one of my prime targets. ;-)

    Seriously, all the harumphing I'm hearing about the "blandness" and all that makes it sound like people expect this to be a FFG game. IT ISN'T. It's a D&D game.

    I can see a lot of people potentially getting hung up on the fact that it doesn't tell you EXACTLY where to place monsters when they move, but for the most part it doesn't matter.

    Yeah, at first I thought that was sort of odd...but then, like you, I realized it didn't really matter. Adding rules to figure out exactly where to place the monsters may have literally added an extra page of rules, and I'm glad they were generous enough to let the players have that part of the game. If you're really, really worried about whether it's going to affect your chance of winning if the Ghoul is one space over another...I'd recommend you play a different kind of game altogether.

  • avatarPat II

    I'm not worried about the "bland" cards etc...This is supposed to represent D&D (I understand it's not an RPG) but back in the day we didn't even have figures (or a very small selection of them) in order to simulate combat. We used chits and had no pictures whatsoever of the items we looted. Our imaginations might differ however we all get a pretty cool picture of a "Sword of Valhala" or whatever the fuck.

    I'm all in for this sort of thing. Don't get me wrong I like great looking games and am usually a sucker for them but I have no issues with this.

    The board in HQ was pretty bland and I had no problem with the same layout. Two or three titles in the series and you could create some fairly large do it yourself scenarios with all the flavor you can add in. The guys also have a veritable mine of figurines to pump out cheaply without having to paint them now. How many models are in their figurine line 200? I have no idea but I imagine it's a helluva lot.

    Grabbing mine today (rubbing hands together).

  • avatarMattDP

    Steve: I'm afraid I've never played 4e so I can't comment.

    Mike: I really like the game, and your comment about it capturing the spirit of the rpg is spot on, something I really noticed on my very first play. But I can't agree about it capturing the essence of ravenloft particularly. It's kind of too simplistic for that: the wraith, for example, isn't like the D&D monster at all: no level drain, no magic needed to hit, it just does lots & lots of damage.

  • avatarColumbob
    Quote:
    How many models are in their figurine line 200? I have no idea but I imagine it's a helluva lot.

    Probably well over 1000, there were a LOT of series, and each had at least 50 different models IIRC.

  • avatarShellhead

    Worst case scenario, I can always use the map tiles and minis in a regular D&D adventure.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Yeah, but you're talking about the Wraith operating aat a different scale completely when you're comparing it to the RPG version. That's where the abstraction comes in- the level drain, the difficulty in hitting it...all of that is abstracted into its relative strength.

    I think it totally got the Ravenloft thing down, at least as far as the dungeon part of it goes. What's missing is the 'world' part of it, the gothic millieu of the game's role playing and outside setting...but there again, that's outside the scope of the game. It's a dungeon crawl.

    I do think they should have done ASHARDALON first, I don't know that the current vogue for vampires or the upcoming Halloween season is going to make a huge sales difference. They should have done a standard, Forgotten Realms/Greyhawk game first, then something more specific like Ravenloft.

    I want a Menzoberanzzan one. Or Dark Sun. Whatever, I just want to see this line do well and offer a lot of expandabilty. I can see playing this pretty regularly.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    The price point really reflects what a -- and I mean no offense to FFG --- "real" company can churn out due to economy of scale. I hope it succeeds as well because the resources that Hasbro can bring to bear on this would force FFG to find a somewhat different schtick....maybe back to more streamlined gameplay versus "component bloat" (and that is coming from someone who likes "component bloat") to be able to compete with the lower prices.

  • avatarPat II

    Wow - 1000 figurine molds already tooled.

  • avatarEl Cuajinais

    Sounds interesting but I'll echo that fact that it's too darn ugly. This is 2010; I've come to expect both excellent gameplay AND art. Why not use wooden cubes and imagine them as vampires and dracoli? Those would be functional. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and those crappy tiles and cards just don't cut it for a 2010 AT title.

    I'll wait for the inevitable "overly-produced" ripoff from another company. Or maybe WoTC will come to their senses in the expansions. What is called "overly produced" by many board gamers is actually my "standard" for an AT title. How can you play with those tiles after having played with the Space Hulk 3rd Ed. tiles?

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    How is it "ugly" though? Is it because FFG has spoiled you and you expect everything to look like a TOR novel cover circa 1995? Thanks, but I'll take the $65 retail game with twice as many great components over the $100 one with shitty ones and "great" "art".

    The miniatures are better than anything FFG has done in two years. I'm _never_ impressed by plastic anymore (barring SPACE HULK), but these figures are awesome. The Flesh Golem is just nuts, and the giant Dracolich that greats you when you open the box pretty much eats those stupid fucking BATTLES OF WESTEROS miniatures for lunch.

    So I'm not quite clear how this is "ugly"...the layouts and yes, fonts are all well done. They're simple and readable. The game looks _modern_. It also doesn't look balls-out nerdy and freakish like RUNEWARS or something like that. That's important for a mass market game, which this really is.

    The tiles aren't crappy at all- they're simple and functional. Just because they didn't go balls out and cover them with art doesn't make them crappy. They're as high (or higher) quality than the DESCENT tiles. Which, need I remind you, feature barely any more detail than those in RAVENLOFT.

    Space Ghost- good points. I'd love to see FFG's designers retreat into designing tight, streamlined games instead of trying to work out how to put more decks of cards and heart counters into the box.

  • avatarufe

    I wouldn't call it ugly, but it's not the over-the-top gothic I think people were expecting. I've never played any version of D&D though, so it doesn't really bother me. I'll probably wait for the one with the dragon on the cover though, since that would apeal more to my group than vamps.

    Anyone have any idea how these are supposed to be compatible? Since it's D&D, I'm hoping there's more to it than being able to port the pre-gen characters from one game to the next. Doesn't seem like it would be too hard to just roll your own. Actually, are there rules to do that anyway?

  • avatarJeff White

    Outstanding. I'm glad this game is fun, I was getting a bit worried.

    However, I still take issue with:

    Quote:
    The "blandness" comments are pretty stupid, to be honest. It's no more "bland" than any other fantasy themed game that people here sport wood over on a regular basis. So what if it doesn't have the pictures you expected- remember, this is D&D, a game that used to not have a board at all.

    I mean, we're not playing the D&D rpg, so comparisons need not apply. This is D&D 'the boardgame'. Being a boardgame, I'd expect a few more visuals. After all, even Dungeon (the D&D 'boardgame' of it's time) had images on the cards.

    I don't think this would have really added all that much to the cost either.

    As it is it just seems a bit sterile. Still, our group's copy comes in next week, and I'm looking forward to it.

    Quote:
    The board in HQ was pretty bland and I had no problem with the same layout.

    Maybe the HQ board was bland, but it came with alters, torture racks, books cases, fireplaces, etc. The game was anything but bland. I doubt this would be affordable these days, but they did add to the atmosphere.

    Quote:
    I want a Menzoberanzzan one.

    All in on that.

    What I'd really like to see, and I don't think Ravenloft has this, is the equivalent of the iron spikes, 10' pole, rope, torches, etc. Things the party needs to go adventuring, but not necessarily combat related. WHQ had some stuff like this iirc. Screeching bugs to clear rooms of bats, oil to burn out rats, torches to keep the party together,etc. Again, I could be remembering wrong, but those little touches were great. WHQ...still the king of dungeoncrawls.

  • avatarmoofrank

    Steve:

    Ravenloft means that 4e has a lot of 'splainin to do.

    Ravenloft is more of a successor to D&D minis. The ideas are there, but wrapped in a dungeoncrawl wrapper instead of the skirmish model.


    Even the new "steamlined" D&D essentials stuff doesn't go this far. We killed about 15 monsters in our short tour. That's about 2-3 encounters in 4e depending on minion density. Which is 2-3 hours at 1st level.

    And yet it didn't lose a lot of the flavor of 4e. Why Wizards didn't take this model as the foundation of their Essentials line is beyond me. Because this reminds me more of an old school D&D boardgame, but with the advantage of modern development.

    I'm pretty tempted to declare it the best dungeon crawl game ever made. (It lacks the experience and campaign systems, or a GM'd option. If they started porting some of the 4e content over, this would be a shoe-in.)

  • avatarBullwinkle

    Anyone want to comment on soloability and replayability?

  • avatarShellhead

    By default, almost any pure co-op game should solo well.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    I'm pretty tempted to declare it the best dungeon crawl game ever made. (It lacks the experience and campaign systems, or a GM'd option. If they started porting some of the 4e content over, this would be a shoe-in.)

    If they can work in a simple experience/campaign system (let alone the GM option), it will be the best dungeon crawl ever made. I'm not kidding. It hits the mark for what I want in this kind of game almost dead on the money. There's zero bullshit in this design.

    Anyone want to comment on soloability and replayability?

    There is a little weirdness if you run the solo adventurer scenarios because many cards affect other heroes and play on the group dynamic. But in my session, I just tossed those out if they weren't really applicable. Other than that, it's 100% the same game, particularly if you run the 2-5 player scenarios.

    As for replayability, you're getting a shitload of scenarios out of the box and most have very different special rules and most require some scenario-specific items, monsters, encounters, tiles, and so on. So I'd say you'd get 15-20 sessions minimum out of the box, not including whatever web scenarios they put out, whatever fan-made ones surface, and whatever you can do with ASHARDALON.

    I just want to say this one more time. FORTY FIVE DOLLARS online. FORTY FIVE DOLLARS.


  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Something else to add...the system is such that it could EASILY accomodate pretty much any kind of advanced rules or even material ported over from 4E without increasing rules burden or bogging the game down.

    I think all these "it's lacking" reviews are ridiculous...lacking what? Heart counters and a 50 page rulebook?

  • avatarEl Cuajinais

    "The game looks _modern_."
    I'll probably have to see the game components "in person" to see what you mean, because those tiles sure don't look "modern" to me in the pictures.

    "It also doesn't look balls-out nerdy and freakish like RUNEWARS or something like that."
    That's an interesting point you raise. It looks likes you're implying "over-produced" games are a turnoff for non-gaming adults. Sadly I have to agree on this. The more bland a game looks, the less suspicious one will look when inviting your non-gaming co-workers to game night. So you're saying that the simple art makes this some sort of "closet AT" title which may attract the mass market. Honestly I doubt this game will attract a mass market crowd any more than Heroscape did. But here's hopin. Can you imagine the day when auntie Lola invites you for a romp of Castle Ravenloft?

    "I think all these "it's lacking" reviews are ridiculous...lacking what? Heart counters and a 50 page rulebook?"
    It's lacking good art.

    "I just want to say this one more time. FORTY FIVE DOLLARS online. FORTY FIVE DOLLARS."
    Holy crap I didn't know it was that cheap!. At that price I'll probably get it just for soloing.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    Best dungeon crawl ever is high praise.....glad you didn't ruin this for me too :)

    I really think they can exert some market pressures on FFG. This type of production was the only thing they had to differentiate themselves from the other publishers. And well some people might be against supporting a multi-national, publicly traded corporation, having Hasbro throw its weight around really shows the potential advantages that competition can bring to this type of environment. These are many of the same reasons that HeroQuest was so affordable with MB's backing.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    My Grandma played several sessions of HQ as Zargon....so Auntie Lola might be interested

  • avatarShellhead

    I was just looking at the BGG entry again and noticed something interesting. One of the designers is Rob Heinsoo, co-designer of the excellent Shadowfist CCG.

  • avatarSpace Ghost
    Quote:
    Menzoberanzzan

    Only one "z"...what kind of nerd are you?

  • avatarAlmalik

    If you've already got the D&D Fantasy Adventure game and you've already got all the minis from the DDM line is there any reason to pick this up? Any strong selling feature? I might be tempted, but the leveling system and the moving monsters by tiles seem like big negatives.

    Is there anything clever done with the automated monster movement, or do the monsters generally just move to or shoot at the closest player figure?

  • avatarGary Sax

    Fuck you guys. I want Warhammer Quest, the real "best dungeon crawl ever" game.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    There is nothing "clever" in this game.

    The monsters have different behaviors, and some have multiple effects based on proximity, who they're near, their HP, and other factors. It's not just "move and attack"

    I've never played WHQ, but given the ease of play this game features, I'm less interested in it now. As for the D&D FANTASY ADVENTURE GAME...I think this is a cleaner, smoother system. I'm also less interested in that one now as well- it's pretty much rendered obsolete by this game.

  • avatarDogmatix

    I really did buy this one for the solo play, but after opening the box [today], I'm pretty sure I'd have paid $25 just for the dracolich model to put on my desk or drop into any other game I own. [Chainsaw Warrior? Now 1000% New & Improved: Now with Dracolich!] Wow. My one complaint isn't that the tiles are generic from an art perspective [though they kind of are *shrug*]--it's that there isn't a whole lot of 'em to begin with nor any variation between them, which seems a bit like an artificial limit--and also like a "Corners, Corridors, and Crypts" expansion pack is inevitable. (Since I haven't followed development at all, is the other D&D game coming supposed to provide a more varied environment to choose from?]. If this is even half as much fun as WhQ or AHQ, this game will get a million miles of play out of it. The box could, however, stand to be 2" shorter if the D'lich's wings were easily removable.

  • avatarShellhead

    From what I've been reading at TOS, it does seem like the monster AI lacks variation. I realize that the 2nd edition Dungeon Twister approach is probably too unwieldy. But maybe Castle Ravenloft could have had preferential targeting if the monster is intelligent and has a ranged attack. Maybe as simple as a spellcaster icon, and an intelligent monster using a ranged attack will default to shooting at the nearest hero with a spellcaster icon.

  • avatarmoofrank

    Gary: Amen. But I don't want a new WHQ. FFG would do it, and I think they'd screw it up.

    WHQ is still the best game. It does need some tweaking.

    Barnes. The rules are just as simple as Ravenloft, and the basic game has a ton of similarities. It also includes 36 quests, each capped with a boss room.

    The thing is, where Ravenloft leaves off, WHQ is just getting started. There is a massive 200 page campaign book with stats for another 100 monster, a full campaign system with levelling, tables for wilderness transit encounters to the dungeon, as well as in between adventure tables.

    Then throw in a full 3 level GM'd dungeon that compares to D&D classic modules.

    The fully modular structure of D&D 4e (and Ravenloft) mean that all of that is entirely possible. The basic structure of Ravenloft *IS* better than WHQ. It plays faster, allows for more variability in even basic attack stuff, reigns in the spawns, adds more events, spaces out character and monster actions, adds more interesting monster AI and attacks.

    As is, my one complaint is the tiles. No obstacles, just walls. In the basic game, I am totally good with that. If it moves to a GM'd game, you'd want to allow players to mix things up a little more.

  • avatarGary Sax

    GW could do it as well, Frank. That's what I'm hoping at least.

  • avatarShapeshifter

    Sorry Barnes, your missing the point on the visual blandness comments.
    Say what you want, but if you make tiles of a Ravenloft game look like they could be interchanged with any other D&D setting you are surely not using the potential of the setting.

  • avatarmetalface13

    Are there items, treasure or anything for the heroes to find/use in the dungeon?

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Say what you want, but if you make tiles of a Ravenloft game look like they could be interchanged with any other D&D setting you are surely not using the potential of the setting

    Make them more Ravenloft specific and you're ruling out using them in future expansions, or as an addded value for players using parts from the game for RPG campaigns. There are some specific tiles that have coffins/tombs/etc. on them.

    Are there items, treasure or anything for the heroes to find/use in the dungeon?

    Yeah, there's an item deck as well as scenario-specific stuff. Lots.

    As is, my one complaint is the tiles. No obstacles, just walls. In the basic game, I am totally good with that. If it moves to a GM'd game, you'd want to allow players to mix things up a little more.

    As it is now, I don't think any of that would really add anything to the game. Maybe as the system expands a little those things would make more sense, but for now it doesn't need them. It needs to be as simple as possible.


  • avatarUniversalHead

    Barnes has spoken! Hallelujah!

    Glad to hear it plays well. But it still looks fucking bland. :D

  • avatarSleightOfHand12
    Quote:
    Make them more Ravenloft specific and you're ruling out using them in future expansions, or as an addded value for players using parts from the game for RPG campaigns.

    Speaking of which... if Wizards really is pushing D&D Boardgame / RPG compatibility, why did they opt for jigsaw-cut dungeon tiles in the boardgame instead of the straight-edged pieces in their Dungeon Tiles sets? The miniatures are already interchangeable between their D&D miniatures line and what comes in the Ravenloft box; why not the maps, too? Do you think they're banking on boardgamers buying multiple copies of the boardgame to create mega-dungeons? That seems kind of unfair when they've already got tons of different Dungeon Tiles sets in print.

    http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm66/PhoenixSuns2008/VIIa.jpg

  • avatarJeff White

    I saw a few copies in one of our local stores today. The box is huge. If this is going to be the standard size for all their games in this line, good luck with storage...

  • avatarmoofrank

    Wait?!?! There is an Item Deck?

    (Coughs. Hangs head in shame.)
    We still won though.

  • avatarhotseatgames

    It's the treasure deck. It might not always grant you an item; sometimes it gives you a blessing.

  • avatarJosh Look

    Glad to hear you liked it, Barnes. With a few exceptions here and there, you like most of the games I do. You've put my fears to rest.

    The shipping says mine will be here on the 10th, which seems impossible. From OH to CT coming FedEx?

  • avatarMr MOTO

    Mine is scheduled to arrive on the 8th.

    HH, is it me or do all D&D dungeon tiles look really bland? I've yet to be knocked over by the impressive detail on any of them. They all seem to have a very much washed out look and low level detail.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    Maybe Strahd just keeps a very clean castle.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    OK, I just did a three character solo run on the sixth scenario, the one where you go after Gravestorm. I ran the Dwarf cleric, the Dragonborn fighter, and the Eladrim wizard.

    Started out pretty smoothly, we explored a couple of tiles and knocked off some monsters as they popped up, a gargoyle gave us a little trouble early on. The wizard was cleaning house though, and he levelled up (5 EXP plus a natural 20) early on. Halfway through, things went pear-shaped. A ghost struck fear in our hearts and we retreated. A hidden passage opened and out popped another gargoyle. We started getting swamped, and then fucking Strahd showed up and teleported the fighter pretty much back to the starting tile- way low on health, and with a spider and a blazing skeleton bearing down on him. I sent the wizard back for a rescue mission, but splitting the party meant that none of their bonuses which help other heroes on the same tile were useful. The the Dwarf got attacked by Petrovina Whateverhernameis and died. Slap died. Healing surge blown before we even found the Arcane Circle where Gravestorm was loitering. The fighter and the wizard caught up and circled the wagons around the weak link. A couple more fights and explorations (including some brutal encounters, several of which I had to nix by paying the 5 EXP safety), and we found the dracolich. Per the scenario rules, the laboratory tile also shows up at that point with Gravestorm's phylactery on the table. Smash it and he takes ten points of damage. Gravestorm lays into the cleric, biting the shit out of him. A couple of treasures and powers kept him alive for a bit while the wizard ran to the lab. The fighter...Crom bless him...wound up immobilized and then teleported _again_ with a couple of spiders- on the other side of Gravestorm. The wizard ran down the hall ready to Magic Missile, Fireball, or Lightning Bolt while the Dracolich shot lightning, bit everybody, and stalked around...I kept everybody separate to avoid his breath weapon. The fighter got pulled into its tile by an attack, but it was actually good since I had some items that gave him bonuses to adjacent attacks. But then his encounter- Crossbow trap. +6 attack on that tile and adjacent. He got shot for three, and the poor dwarf took three as well. Then the dwarf's turn, and on his encounter he draws a crossbow trap. Both he and the fighter die at the same time burning the last healing surge _and_ ending the game. While the Wizard comes running down the hall, unaware that his pals just got skewered.

    Yeah, this is a "bland" game alright.

    All that took an hour and ten, including setup and teardown.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Oh shit...I guess I did just do that "listen to what my D&D character did" thing...

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    Good job, Matt and Mike. I'd heard it described anywhere from "Meh" to "Mother of God" and you guys have helped me decide.

    Mike (or MattDP), will this slide right in and work with D&D Fantasy Adventure BG or is this the successor?

    Cheers!

  • avatarShapeshifter

    Barnes, you definitly convinced me the game itself is exciting and fast playing.
    I just don't see why you have such a hard time admitting the tiles could have benefited from a bit more
    creativity.

    That said, I'm placing my order and hope this is the game to replace my copy of Descent.
    It seems a new age has arrived that replaces 5-hour mammoth sessions and 40-page rulesbooks with more elegant designs that play in an admirably short timeframe.
    Frankly, at this point I'm not likely to miss those Descent days. Sure, all this streamlining comes with a price and naturaly some chrome is missing, but let's be honest, what we get in return is pretty impressive: 60 minute dungeoncrawlers that offer a full exeperience of monster bashing. I'm in.

  • avatarJosh Look

    If it helps future games match up, I'm okay with the tiles as they are (and I never had a problem with them). Besides, I really don't have any other affordable options for this type of game, and I _want_ something like this, not another Space Hulk clone.

    Shipping tracking now says it's coming TOMORROW. And I'm off. This made my weekend.

  • avatarStephen Avery

    I kept wondering if this was different enough from D&D4e to make it worthwhile and I think I finally found my answer. Ye- becuse the game is 'condensed' RPG. The value of the game is all in the AI. Most apsects of the game are a watered down 4E. For instance, instead of rolled damage, you do set damage. Some creature powers have been omitted and instead the creature is buffed. The part that adds interest and value is all in the AI deck. The random events generate twist and turns, spawn encounters, and variety and suspense.

    You could easliy publish expansions ad inifintum by changing the deck and writing a few scenarios. It sounds like that is what WotC has done. I'm not criticising that ploy. In fact, I think it is brilliant because they are supporting their other products and have created an open ended board game system that is breif enough to play often and fun enough to come back for more. Most importantly, it will whet the appetites of board gamers to investigate the cash cow D&D.

    Steve"waiting for the tanktop expansion"Avery

  • avatarUniversalHead

    Let me just repeat that again for you Barnsey - I'll even italicsize the relevant word.

    Glad to hear it plays well. But it still looks fucking bland. :D

    Actually, gameplay aside, the thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is the Hasbro/WotC's obvious bean-counter approach (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about the following assumptions). The artwork has been used on their basic dungeon tile sets before. The figure sculpts are from existing D&D figures. The graphic design is - I'm sorry, but it is - lacking in inspiration. The other Ashardalon game appears to be virtually identical except for different figures.

    In other words, with these new games they've done everything they possibly could not to produce any new assets. That, and the fact that Hasbro/WotC is a huge company that can afford to print in very large print runs, is why it's so cheap, not because other companies like FFG are over-charging bastards screwing the gaming public with over-priced games. Not that I feel the need to defend FFG, but they do seem to be copping some undeserved flak lately. A global economic crisis has increased the price of everything involved in producing a boardgame, so prices were always going to rise. The figures in most FFG games are at least all original sculpts for the most part (except those damn Terrinoth heroes!) ... and comparing dungeoncrawl figures to BattleLore ones is just being disingenuous.

    Again, I'm glad it plays well and you like it so much Barnes. Certainly a good, fun game doesn't have to be visually striking, or use new art, or new figure sculpts - they're just things I prefer in a game.

  • avatarUniversalHead

    Damn, I spelt italicize wrong. This site needs an edit comment function!

  • avatarscissors

    Not that I feel the need to defend FFG, but they do seem to be copping some undeserved flak lately.

    Seconded.

  • avatarEl Cuajinais

    WTF Barnes? Alls I can say is:

    She does charity work and has PhD in molecular genetics! How's that for an ugly girl.

  • avatarmoofrank

    Anthony:
    Reusing the figure sculpts is a great idea. There are a ton of good sculpts in the D&D minis line, and they made great choices, including the translucent casting for blazing skeletons and wraiths. And Wizards has such a huge library that even D&D minis fans are having trouble working out which ones were used.

    The graphic design on everything else is pretty plain. Card, flat background color, text, done. I actually prefer this starkness for character power cards and monsters stat cards that are pretty text heavy.

    The tiles and coffins are the worst offenders. The coffins look 80's. The tiles...80's b/w that you cut out of a magazine almost. These are basically reused graphics from Dungeon Tiles. The problem is that the bulk of the tiles are extremely plain b/w tiles only livened up by the rare special tile.

    I should also note that FFG has rather higher quality cards and tiles in their stuff aside from the art.
    Cards in Ravenloft are thin stock with no linen finish. Varnishes are very light and almost seem uncoated. Perfs are a little rough, and the tiles required a hint of regluing to put the paper back on in a couple of cases.

    The insert is a step above FFG. Actually useful, especially to rein in the pile of tiles.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    rhyme of the day: piles of tiles.

  • avatarPat II

    There is a store here in town selling this for $39.99 CAD.

  • avatarVonTush

    I got to play a few solo missions last night and had a blast even though I got my ass handed to me all but once (and even then I still lost the game so I'm 0-4).

    What I loved about the game is the rules and how they have a lot left open to interpretation. I found that it had me thinking about the "spirit of the game" a lot and what would realistically happen compared to what shifts the odds to my favor, also known as what I want to happen.

    And thinking about what is in the spirit of the game is something that I've been missing for some time. Usually when I'm thinking about the spirit of the game emphasis on a win/loss is reduced and shifts to the process of actually playing the game. Today's games are so rigid, complete and sterilized that they often feel soulless and more about playing a set of mechanics rather than playing a game.

  • avatarColumbob
    Quote:
    There is a store here in town selling this for $39.99 CAD.

    No way! Where's that? Fandom II in Ottawa has it for $68 CAD.

  • avatarPat II

    Carta Magica on St Hubert (few blocks east of St Laurent) just a few blocks south of the T-Can(40). I called them a couple of hours ago and the guy was like "Oui -viens au magasin" when I asked if he had copies still.

    Translation - "Yeah - come to the store" and then he hangs up! I'm off there right after work 'cuz that's a steal.

    These guys are like WTC distributors and I think they sell alot of cards. You can order form them over the phone I'm sure the shipping to Ottawa is cheap...

  • avatarColumbob

    That's an awesome deal Pat, I'll check if I can get in on it.

  • avatargeneralpf

    Chapters/Indigo (www.indigo.ca) is selling it for $49 (less if you have a Rewards card) and it ships for free. Unfortunately you can't get it until 9/21 or so. That's an amazing deal.

  • avatarPat II

    Just picked mine up before leaving for Ontario for the weekend. $45.00 tax in. What a freakin deal!! I'm stoked.

  • avatarJosh Look

    Not that I feel the need to defend FFG, but they do seem to be copping some undeserved flak lately.

    Two _COMPLETELY_ overpriced games, both of them lacking enough stuff in the coffin box to justify the price, one of them a debatable dud, the ultimately failed attempt at remaking DungeonQuest, the overpriced "expansion trap" Battles of Westeros, and a handful of "meh" to "good" games they picked up from Dust Games, not to mention a trend of increasing prices with shrinking amount of components, as well as a wavering quality of those components (see any miniature in a FFG game in the last year), I'd say some flak is well deserved. With games like Ravenloft and Claustrophobia, both positively bursting with bang-for-your-buck value, there's very little excuse. And I have yet to play Runewars (and given that it's set in Terrinoth, I'm in no rush), but the games have left much to be desired in terms of gameplay. Not a banner year for FFG. They've done this to themselves.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Played a couple of games at Dragon Con today...still blown away. A couple of people have noted that there is something about the game not unlike BETRAYAL AT THE HOUSE ON THE HILL...I think it's the ease of play and acessibility. And the fact that you can play a full game of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (sans funny talking and character sheets) in an hour without once checking in the rulebook. I've read the rulebook one time over five games. I've not opened it since.

    I think what LVT said above really stands out, about the rules actually having a certain genorosity (thanks Tom Chick) to let the player play and interpret them. Some people will flip out that it doesn't always tell you which space to put the monster in. But it's up to you, and in the end it's not where the monster goes that matters but in maintaining the spirit of the game. I _adore_ that nitpicky shit like putting the monster in one square or another really doesn't make a difference.

    The game doesn't bog you down in rules at all- they're almost not even there, and it causes you to think about the game more in the terms of how you think about an RPG- do you ever think about the rules when you're playing a full RPG? In RAVENLOFT, the looseness of the rules feels _right_, and the lack of rigidity feels really libertating. You can _play_ the game, and almost never think about sequencing, process, structure, rules, and so on. They're almost written to be transparent.

    This game is brilliant. It's that kind of "it's the notes they're not playing" brilliant, and it's a real breath of fresh air after piles of games with 50 page rulebooks, ruthless structures, and "clever" mechanics that require rules bulk to hold them up.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Not a banner year for FFG. They've done this to themselves.

    Yeah, I don't want to hear this "global economic crisis" crap in defense of them. If there's a "global economic crisis", you shouldn't be making $100 board games. SCALE YOUR SHIT DOWN. If you can't do a game for $60 retail, do less miniatures and for god's sake, stop making me buy heart counters. If there's a "global economic crisis" affecting board game manufacture and the market, then don't release a game then announce an expansion before it's even on shelves with the assumption of more to come.

    I really hope that this year's good releases like RAVENLOFT make FFG take notice- if I can buy RAVENLOFT for $65, why would I buy any of their games for $20-$40 more? Because there's more art on the tiles? No way. I also hope that these D&D games show them that not everything has to have "innovative" mechanics like card combat. Just put a god damned D20 in the box.

  • avatarJosh Look

    Just put a god damned D20 in the box.

    Right on, brother. If we can't admit to having fun while rolling dice (or a die), then Aldie wins.

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    FFG would probably opt for 5d4's instead of a d20.

  • avatarUniversalHead

    I really hope that this year's good releases like RAVENLOFT make FFG take notice- if I can buy RAVENLOFT for $65, why would I buy any of their games for $20-$40 more?

    Are you being deliberately obtuse Barnes? I would suggest Ravenloft is a lot cheaper a) because they didn't have to make any new plastic figure moulds (by far the most expensive part of the process) or commission any new art and b) Hasbro has about 50 times the resources of FFG and can not only print heaps more in a run but possibly sell them in mainstream shops - and they can swallow a smaller profit per item. It's hardly altruism on Hasbro's part to be selling Ravenloft for $65, and it certainly doesn't expose FFG as ripping us all off.

    It's ridiculous to compare such two completely different economies of scale.

  • avatarShapeshifter

    Good point Barnes.
    I feel FFG sometimes steps into the common publisher trap of thinking Innovation = Quality.µ
    It is very tempting to overload your game with clever ideas but in the end only one thing counts and that is "fun". I feel FFG lost a bit of this, overloading games with chrome for the sake of chrome. Almost as if they wanted to prove they could turn their next game into another 40-page rulesbook because that is what people expect of them: complex rich experiences. Sadly enough the rest of the gaming world has moved on and entered a new age of streamlined games with easy-to-digest rules, smooth non-fiddly gameplay and components with minimal bookkeeping (how many card decks can a game hold before it suffocates itself)n and maximum fun. Economic game design, that's what its all about. Somehow that is the challenge for all new designers: create games that require a minimum of setup/hazzle/material but render a maximum of fun.
    And yes, let's support games that offer alot of meterial under the 60 dollar barrier.
    For me that is the mythycal border when I buy games. Anything more than 60 dollars and it really needs to be a work of genius, and those games are rare. For me 60 is the new 100.

  • avatarJacobMartin

    Barnes, this may be a situation where you "assert to young people, that my lawn is not an acceptable venue" - but as a young guy who's into the more streamlined games after almost making the mistake of buying Axis and Allies - you have me convinced that some newer games like the D&D board games may well be examples of more sensible production decisions of late from Wizards.

    They still haven't ruined Magic, and I guess D&D is now just catching up to the cries of "Ruined Forever" as TV Tropes calls it. But like Magic I don't think D&D will be "ruined forever" by these board games. I think two, instead of just one board game from the D&D universe is a really sensible decision because you can choose what mood of game you want for your game group, horror with vampires, or fantasy with dragons.

    I'm young and impressionable when it comes to you recommending games to me Barnes, as you got me hooked on Talisman, which I bought for 20 AUS in the old Games Workshop Black Industries version. I trust that these D&D games are probably better streamlined than older examples of dungeon crawl games, and believe me, it takes some streamlining to get people my age to even take a look at this dungeon crawl stuff - just look at Board James (AVGN) and his review of Heroquest for an example of the most likely scenario of what happens when an old classic gets pulled out on a newcomer.

    Also, I reckon that the reason why Magic is so popular as opposed to D&D now is my honest but somewhat demographic analysis that Magic takes far less time to play than D&D usually does - and its portability lends well to transporting the game to a college campus or workplace. Board games like Pass The Pigs and even stuff like Barrel of Monkeys also fit into this category. It's not just pricey components that draw people to a game, its how and where they can play it.

  • avatardragonstout
    Quote:
    I _adore_ that nitpicky shit like putting the monster in one square or another really doesn't make a difference.

    If this is true I'm sold and will sell every other game I own that has a grid of squares.

  • avatardragonstout

    I'd also be surprised, considering how much in D&D 4E it absolutely matters whether a monster is in this square or that, to a degree maybe more nauseating than in Descent.

  • avatarSleightOfHand12

    [q]Also, I reckon that the reason why Magic is so popular as opposed to D&D now is my honest but somewhat demographic analysis that Magic takes far less time to play than D&D usually does - and its portability lends well to transporting the game to a college campus or workplace.[/q]

    Portability, true. There's also the fact that everybody our age (you're 20-21?) already knows how to play because it exploded when we were young and jonesing to burn our allowances. Magic was so big that it was actually "cool" to play when it was released - I remember my neighbor, Patrick, teaching me the game and telling me that "people are going to think you're a dork if you don't know how to play... all the guys in my school play it, and even some of the girls too". Dungeons and Dragons, on the other hand, has always been, and will always be, deeply uncool.

  • avatardysjunct
    Quote:
    I'd also be surprised, considering how much in D&D 4E it absolutely matters whether a monster is in this square or that, to a degree maybe more nauseating than in Descent.

    According to a post by the designer on BGG, they were able to skip this because there's no attacks of opportunity in CR.

  • avatarwkover

    Some people will flip out that it doesn't always tell you which space to put the monster in. But it's up to you, and in the end it's not where the monster goes that matters but in maintaining the spirit of the game.

    To me, it sounds like you're excusing an incomplete or vague rulebook (or game cards). There's never any excuse for that, as far as I'm concerned. Leaving rules "up to me" means that I'm going to curse the developer or rules author, not celebrate the simplicity and spirit of the game.

    Still, the game could be a lot of fun. I look forward to trying it out, but I don't want to get my hopes up only to discover that the game is just OK. Hopefully someone local (malloc?) will spring for a copy. Or maybe I'll just spend the $50 and go for a D&D Christmas this year.

  • avatarGary Sax

    I don't give a shit about this game, but I agree you can't argue with the price and value proposition showing up FFG a bit. I'm looking forward to seeing Civ: the boardgame from FFG, which is coming in at 60. It looks like it'll have better economies of scale than some of their other games so may pack plenty of stuff in in a game I'm actually interested in instead of dead boring D+D and dungeoncrawl, simple version.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    It's hardly altruism on Hasbro's part to be selling Ravenloft for $65, and it certainly doesn't expose FFG as ripping us all off.

    I don't think Hasbro is that or FFG is doing that. But I sure as hell don't have to be altruistic myself and help FFG by giving them $40 just because they're a smaller company that just can't help but make expensive games.

    To me, it sounds like you're excusing an incomplete or vague rulebook (or game cards). There's never any excuse for that, as far as I'm concerned. Leaving rules "up to me" means that I'm going to curse the developer or rules author, not celebrate the simplicity and spirit of the game.

    Nope. The rules are 100% complete, and are clearer than most rulebooks I've read over the past few years. The difference is that the designers assume you know what to do when you draw a "play immediately" treasure that gives you back 2 HP as your setup treasure. You just fucking discard it and draw another. Do you need a paragraph of rules to tell you that?

    Apparently some people do. I'm sorry, but if you've been playing games for over, say, ten minutes, you should have the common sense to interpret what the fuck to do in a situation like that. It's this whole culture of over-reading the rules and assuming that you're smarter than the designers (thanks MJ) that leads to all these convoluted rules questions. I've never in my life asked a rules question either online or by sending in a SASE. We figure the shit out on our own. And this is the kind of game where if you're worried about whether or not it's an "official" rule or if you're going to win or lose because the monster is one tile closer or further away, then you're playing the game for the wrong reason in the first place.

    I have yet to see a single instance where a decision like that that wasn't explictly covered by a paragraph (or page) of rules in the rulebook signficantly affected the outcome of a game or tactical situation. It just doesn't work like that.

    I can't fucking believe someone would even worry about that thing with drawing a "play immediately" treasure enough to post online about it...I mean, seriously, did they sit there for ten minutes looking in the rules to see what to do and it locked the game up? Were they then worried if they discarded it if they needed to reshuffle the one card back into the deck or not? Who can't work this shit out on their own without "offical" rules?

    Dragonstout- no attacks of opportunity. THere is no fidgeting over whether your guy is one or two squares closer or distant, counting up how far monsters will be able to move, or any of that crap. It's a brilliant system that does away with all that kind of micromanagement, thereby elminating possibly hours of game time. Not "play", because that kind of shit isn't "play". Time.

    Shapeshifter- you almost suggest that the FFG era is over, or at least the time for the "FFG Style". I'd agree, and it's time for them to REALLY be innovative and get out of the thinking they've been in since 2003. They're getting left in the dust by other companies at this point- regardless of how many copies of ARKHAM HORROR and its expansions continue to sell. I'd be interested to see how much of their revenue is coming from anything they've released in the past year and half versus their still-in-print games from 2003-2008.

  • avatariguanaDitty
    Quote:
    Sadly enough the rest of the gaming world has moved on and entered a new age of streamlined games with easy-to-digest rules, smooth non-fiddly gameplay and components with minimal bookkeeping (how many card decks can a game hold before it suffocates itself)n and maximum fun. Economic game design, that's what its all about.

    So it's the Euroization of Ameritrash then, is it? Sure, as a newish dad, that's appealing to me, in small doses. But just because FFG's latest massive games haven't been as good doesn't mean I don't jones for the newest awesome long massive game. Maybe that's why I am gravitating towards wargames and towards out-of-print experience games like Source of the Nile.

  • avatarSouthernman

    I just want to know how Canadian retail stores can sell it for $C40 when it retails in the US for $65 >:( - or is teh $C very strong against the $US ? !
    The BEST special in the UK was a pre-order of £38 delivered (but that was delivered anywhere in the world), currently the best I can get it for now is £39 ($US60) plus flat postage so I'm looking for a few otehr games to add to the order.

  • avatarMattLoter

    Played last night, Michael is right, it rules.

  • avatarMr MOTO

    MB said

    Quote:
    I've never in my life asked a rules question either online or by sending in a SASE.

    Normally I'd be with you but get the first, or even the most recent, set of rules for Elementalis and if you can figure out how to play as the designer intended I'd be surprised. If you do, please tell the rest of the world how to play it. Worst rules ever.

  • avatarMr MOTO

    More along the "rules tangent sub sub thread". When we play, if something isn't clear we just house rule it to keep the game flowing and make mental notes to look up the 'official' rule at a later date if the opportunity presents itself. There is nothing worse than someone wasting tens of minutes of game time in a rulebook or online just to play the 'proper' way.

  • avatarubarose
    Quote:
    So it's the Euroization of Ameritrash then, is it?

    Actually, I'd say that in the far too many cases, the introduction into AT games of mechanics originally utilized in Euro games, has made AT games more complex and fiddly, and less intuitive. In an attempt to "fix" perceived flaws, the baby gets thrown out with the bath water. You end up with more downtime, more booking, more rules, and then to compensate for the now longer playtime, the game is arbitrarily cut short by some abstract mechanisim which results in the last turn devolving into "gaminess."

    Of course there are cases, where the fusion works well and achieves it's goals. It's just important to keep in mind that the "Euroization" of AT games doesn't automatically equal

    Quote:
    streamlined games with easy-to-digest rules, smooth non-fiddly gameplay and components with minimal bookkeeping
  • Kasuga04

    "So it's the Euroization of Ameritrash then, is it?"

    I don't think this is the case at all. Maybe just a "back to basics" style ala many of the AT classics: Cosmic, TotAN, Talisman. These games are extremely simple rules-wise . They just have more of the open style game play as opposed to the rigid, gamey styles of euros.

  • avatarluckacs

    Sorry, what the fuck is TotAN? I´m new here, but you guys convince me of buying that game.

  • avatarMr MOTO

    Tales of the Arabian Nights

  • avatarJosh Look

    I've played it twice so far today, with 3 or 4 more plays coming up. Rumors of it ruling are true.

  • avatarwkover

    I've never in my life asked a rules question either online or by sending in a SASE. We figure the shit out on our own.

    I have no problem with this attitude some of the time. If a game is goofy fun, then I simply go along for the ride, make snap judgments, and don't care whether I'm getting the rules exactly right. There's also nothing wrong with applying common sense to figure out the intent of a particular game rule. Fair enough.

    On the other hand, when I tried to learn Crusader Rex, every gaming group that I met was playing the game differently because the rules are vague and incomplete. That's just messed up, and also the reason why I wrote and researched the 16-page FAQ for that game.

    Sorry - didn't mean to introduce a sub-sub-sub tangent here. Ravenloft is wacky enough that the occasional vague or missing rule won't be a problem. But that's not always the case.

  • avatarcraniac

    Barnes and Vasel are the two horsemen of the checking account overdraft apocalypse. The only remaining question at this point is whether my wife will notice the overdraft. I have a separate, linked account but I don't think she knows how to check it out.

  • avatarSpace Ghost
    Quote:
    The difference is that the designers assume you know what to do when you draw a "play immediately" treasure that gives you back 2 HP as your setup treasure.

    We have been playing that you get the 2HPs, but since you are at full it has no effect....so it is discarded and you get no treasure. Kind of a "too bad, that's the breaks" way to play.

  • avatarSouthernman

    Space Ghost said

    Quote:
    The difference is that the designers assume you know what to do when you draw a "play immediately" treasure that gives you back 2 HP as your setup treasure.

    We have been playing that you get the 2HPs, but since you are at full it has no effect....so it is discarded and you get no treasure. Kind of a "too bad, that's the breaks" way to play.


    Now I would probably play it that way too - so we have failed the Barnes test and now will have our FA:T cards burnt :( .

  • avatarJosh Look

    That's the way I've been playing it all afternoon (now up to 4 plays). Works just fine. I at first thought I should be using the Adventure Treasure deck in beginning, but that's not the case.

    Should I be using the coffin counters in the crypts?

  • avatarUniversalHead

    The earth will keep turning and prices will keep going up. I love the style of game FFG makes, and if it costs that much to make them and for them to make enough of a profit to keep making them, I'll keep buying them. Runewars was a fantastic game. Westeros, after several plays, seems to me the most interesting and deep of the Command & Colors-type games. The new Tannhauser rules have resurrected that gme for me, and I like the innovative approach to WFRP. A new FFG game is still about the price of a new release xBox game, and I sure know which one gives me more long-term entertainment value.

    Stange to find myself a FFG apologist, but I'm quite happy with what they're doing, and I find it misleading to compare the price of a Hasbro release with re-hashed production with an original FFG one. I'd be surprised if any other company can afford to release a game full of plastic figures for $65, so don't get used to it ...

    Anyway, games in the US are still as cheap as hell. Most high-production games here are hitting $150 Australian, so we're paying the equivalent of US$137. You can put the words global economic crisis in quotation marks all you want Barnes, but the fact remains, the party's over kids!

  • avatarSpace Ghost
    Quote:
    Now I would probably play it that way too - so we have failed the Barnes test and now will have our FA:T cards burnt

    Bah....Barnes is just too used to those fate/determination tokens and wants to make sure that his hero gets a treasure. He unwittingly exposed himself as one of those new-fangled, lilly-livered gamers that can't stand when things don't go their way :)

    And, for what it is worth, I agree with UH....game prices will be going one way, and that is up.

  • avatarPat II

    CAD & USD are pretty much on par give or take a few points here and there. Does this really need to turn into another cost comparison? It is fairly obvious that there are different factors at play with already having much of the work done as far as the figs are concerned.

    I can't believe I got this for $45 - the box is huge and this is a great deal. I finished the rulebook on the john for crying out loud and it's very easy to understand.

  • avatarMr MOTO

    Pat, please resist the urge to play the game there too.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu

    The big question about this game still remains unanswered. Does it have a photo of kids playing the game on the back of the box?

  • avatarmetalface13

    I just finished reading the rules too and they are fair straightforward and clear. I guess if there are any devils in the details they are on the cards. I like the sound of 1-hour co-op dungeon crawling, but rolling a single D20 after Descents multi-hued dice array sounds a little boring. I need to pick my brother's brain some more about why he didn't like the demo at GenCon very much.

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